as of September 11, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 26, 2013 - El Segundo Grande Mensaje

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, Elder Froude1, and other fans of delicious fruit,

It is now my second week at the MTC and boy does time fly! I've gotten into the swing of things now, thank goodness!

Lots of things to write about but I got cut off last week so here's the remainder of my previous week! Let's see, I left off at being called as the Musical Director. After that it's been nonstop learning and practicing. There's so much information and lessons being stuffed into my tiny little brain! @_@ But thank goodness my brain is just soaking everything in like a sponge...and I'm loving it! I think I might have already mentioned this in my last email but I'm picking up Spanish faster than I ever thought I could. I literally learned more Spanish in 2 days than I did in two semesters of Spanish class at school; it's incredible! By my second day, I learned how to bear my testimony and say a prayer in Spanish. By the 5th day, they had us practice teaching our first investigator! Well, a teacher playing an investigator but it's so amazing how much I'm able to say! Don't get excited just yet, because Spanish is still a huge barrier for us. There's so much to say about the Gospel and not knowing how to say something even when you know you should say it is the most frustrating thing ever. I try my hardest, I really do! I'm studying harder than I have ever studied before. If I had studied like I do now when I was in school, I would have been a straight A student! XD  It made me realize, "Oh, THIS is how I should study!” I've learned so much and I still have a lot to learn!

All of that was essentially my first week, time for the second week! The first awesome thing about the second week is that we all got to go the store down the street from the MTC for a bit! It was really nice to leave the MTC and see the city; we were starting to feel cooped up in there. XP Anyway, we walked out of the MTC and it was a pretty nice day. It wasn't too hot and it was early in the morning so I thought it would be a pleasant stroll. Not 3 minutes later, I find myself soaked in sweat. It was the most bizarre thing ever! I have never sweated so much in my life from walking for 5 minutes! I thought if that's just 5 minutes, how am I going to be when I have to walk around ALL day?? @_@ Anyway, walking through the city was nice! The trees were beautiful and so was the sky. ^_^  And then, I smelled it. What did I smell, you may ask? I smelled the Dominican Republic. A family friend who served here a while ago warned me that everywhere you go is going to stink. In the DR, the plumbing is very bad so no one flushes used toilet paper down the toilet or else it would clog the sewage. So, they just throw away the used tissue in a trash bin. BLEH! I also had to remind myself, "This is the nicest part of Santo Domingo, enjoy it while it lasts!" XD Anyway, we got to the store eventually and it was like a Dominican Target. It was so cool! And everything here is super cheap, too! At least, the non-American products. It's about 42 or so pesos to the American dollar here. I spent about 1000 pesos on various snacks for myself and my roommates... the important stuff ;) JK! It was a fun little trip!

Tomorrow, the teachers are sending us to a local university campus to start making first contacts with natives. OH BOY, I'M NERVOUS!!! Contrary to popular belief, people don't speak Spanish here. They speak Dominican; a completely different language. I tried speaking to someone in the main lobby in the MTC for practice, and this is how it went:

Me:  "Hola! Como esta Usted?" Translation: Hello! How are you?
Guy:  "yjbfjkfgjkdnfgfjgvbdgheufgb"
Me:  "O_O Mas descansado por favor, mi EspaƱol is muy mal" Tr: Um, slower please, my Spanish is bad.
Guy:  "Soy asdfhjkdla, cual es su nombre?"  Tr: I'm so and so, what's your name?
Me:  "Oh! Soy Elder Froude! Otra vez, cual es su nombre?" Tr: Oh! I'm Elder Froude? What's your name again?
Guy:  "adfhjkalhsdf"
Me:  "Oh... Chevre...? Tr: " Oh... Cool..?

I just need to learn to get an ear for them. I'm sure I will! :D All nervousness aside, I’m really excited to meet Dominicans tomorrow! It's great practice and we’ll be building up the Kingdom of God...slowly but surely!

Before I left, a lot of my friends were telling me that I would miss home so much and I thought they would be right. The fact is that there is so much going on here I don't even have the time to think about anything else! XD Between studying and practicing Spanish and studying the gospel and much more learning, there simply isn't any room to think about home! As busy as that sounds, it helps with coping with being away from home. This is the first time I really thought about home since last Thursday. The kind of work that I'm doing really does need all of my attention. Some of you that are reading this may not understand but I can promise you that how busy I am and how much I am learning is the pathway to becoming a great missionary, and a great missionary is what I want to be :)

That's so awesome that Ian is an AP (Assistant to the (mission) President) now! I kinda figured though; he's the kind of missionary that would become the bestest AP!  I'm really glad to hear that everyone is doing alright over there.

I'm out of time :( I'll write again next Thursday with more stories and experiences! Hasta proximo Jueves! See you next Thursday!

-Elder Froude

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013 – My first week at the MTC

Dear Mom, Dad, Lauren, and other readers,

Hi! I'm finally on!  Sorry, I couldn't email you last Thursday.  They decided since we showed up so late on Wednesday night, our classes would start on Thursday. 

To answer your questions in order:  I'm doing very well!  The missionary life is busy but I'm learning so much!  The language is coming to me so fast, it's nuts!  Within the first two days, I was able to bear my testimony and pray in Spanish!  They challenged us to make sure that all our prayers are only in Spanish, and I'm following that!  It's great practice and it's helping me learn so fast!  The next two days, I met a missionary going to the Mexico City MTC named Elder Santos, a native from Santiago.  I was able to carry a conversation with him!  And not just "Hi, how are you?" or those simple phrases; I was speaking to him!  It's so crazy how much I'm learning right now.  And only 7 days of classes!  I'm not getting prideful or anything, I'm just so happy that I’m learning so much!  Being immersed in the language helps so much.  The teachers only speak English when they want us to understand something important.  Every day I understand more and more what they are saying and I can speak more and more to them!

I'm eating and sleeping very well here.  It was a little harder for me to fall asleep because I'm getting used to the bed and room and stuff, but I don't fall asleep in class anymore!  At least, after two days and it was only one time in the mornings and it was study time.  I'm fine now.  The food here is great, AND THE FRUITS ARE SO AMAZING, OH MY GOODNESS!!!  All the fruits here are so sweet and juicy and, urrgghh, so good!  Breakfast and dinner are different every day but lunch is always a variation of the same; two kinds of rice, two kinds of meat, and a bowl of beans.  You guys were spot on!  XD

My companion is so great.  His name is Elder Merrell and he's a super righteous missionary!  We work together very well and we both strive to be awesome missionaries!  I'm making lots of friends too!  My roommates, Elder Hill and Elder Barnett, are awesome as well!  They're so funny and we always joke around every night and laugh with each other!

Me and my companion, Elder Merrell
 And yes mom, I'm using toilet paper. XD  I miss you guys a lot! I think it's so awesome that you're into Big Bang Theory now!  X)  I wish I discovered it earlier so I could've watched more of it! I'm glad to hear that Ian wasn't hurt; the Lord has plans for him ^_^

We went into the temple today before P-day started; the temple here is so beautiful, Mom!  It's surrounded by all these tropical flowers and palm trees and it's so close to the ocean!

MTC President Freestone and his wife
Elder Ryan Froude at the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo Temple grounds 
This week has been non-stop learning and practice that I can't even think about writing about all of it without sweating!  So, I'll take it by day so I can make some sense:

Day 1:
Lots and lots and lots of flying @_@  It turned out that at least 30 missionaries were heading with me to the DR!  When we landed there the humidity hit us like a baseball to the face; it got so hot so fast! Lol!  We arrived at the MTC at about 11:30pm, so they fed us, let us email, and sent us to bed because our lessons started the next day.

Day 2:
We met our teachers, Hermana Laureano for the morning and Hermano Ramirez for the afternoon and evening.  Of all the language study we had that day, and there was a LOT, one thing that stuck out to me was that as a missionary we teach people, not lessons.  People's Eternal Happiness is on the line here, how can we bring that to them when all we're focusing on is how perfect our lesson is?  They told us that we need to learn what the needs of our investigators are to guide teaching them.  We were also organized into districts that day; I'm in the Shiblon District.  And who is the District Leader? My companion, Elder Merrell!  He's so awesome!

My district
 Day 3:
During our morning lesson, our MTC president, President Freestone, walks in and tells me that I'm called to be the MTC Music Director.  Um... WHAT??  3 days in and already a calling?  What an honor!  I have the responsibility on picking out the hymns for meetings (songs all in Spanish) and organizing special musical numbers whenever there's a guest speaker.

Oh no!  I'm all out of time :(  They only give me 45 minutes here, and I spent most of it emailing my family.  No regrets about it though ;)  I promise the next email will finish this week and the next.  Until next Thursday!  Love you mommy!  You'll hear much more from me next Thursday!  :D  Miss you guys lots.  :)

-Elder Froude

My side of the room.  Isn't it neat?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 2013 - Dominican Republic, here I come!

Hey Mom and Dad! 

Sorry I didn't get to call earlier, but I made it safely! The flight was a little bumpy, but it was fine!  Everything is just such a huge rush, so many people speaking spanish and I can barely respond, it's all a little overwhelming. But that's what I'm in the MTC for! 

It's late, about 11:37 right now. They're telling us to make our email short :(  I love you guys! I miss you already! I start classes tomorrow so things should start becoming very interesting! Goodnight guys! My P-Days are on Thursday, so I will email you guys then. 

I love you! Talk to you on Thursday!

Elder Ryan Froude